Meal Planning 101

Today I have a very special treat for all of you. My sweet friend Amanda is here today to give you all a lesson in Meal Planning 101. Now let me tell you something. I’m a college student and I have taken a few “101” classes in the past year and a half. None of those were about meal planning, but they totally should have been.

Think about it…a college student on my own for the first time and realizing I have to cook, clean, AND do my own laundry. I definitely could have used some of these tips. Oh and did I mention that Amanda considers chips and guac to be a complete meal…how can you NOT love her?!

Hi y’all! My  name is Amanda and I’m the creative mind
Royal Daughter Designs. This is me:

I’m a country girl, farming and ranching on 8 beautiful Texas acres. My husband, Mr. E., is a minister and a seminary professor and  I’m a small business owner and graduate student. I’m a has-been foster moma self-proclaimed animal lover, laundry procrastinator, sweet tea junkie, and high-heel hater.

In an attempt to simplify my life I try to be diligent to menu plan every week. Several months ago I got really motivated and menu planned for a whole month! It was such a blessing to come home and not have to wonder what in the world I was going to fix for supper.

Here’s five tips for implementing menu planning in your home:

Meal Planning 101: by Royal Daughter Designs

1. Find out what you have. I know I’m not the only one who has a pantry full of perfectly good food. Yet for some reason I tend to let it just sit there looking pretty (or pretty cluttered, in my case) while thinking nothing of making a grocery store run for much needed supplies. Case in point: pasta. I have a ton of different types of pasta. But I replace spaghetti noodles like nobody’s business. Cork screw, bowtie, and elbow noodles are often forgotten – that is until I take inventory and realize that there’s nothing wrong with bowtie alfredo. 

If you’re feeling really brave: plan a whole week’s worth of menus based on only the inventory you already have. No grocery shopping and no eating out. Do you think you can do it?

2. Plan meals based on seasonal fruits and vegetables. My husband and I love fresh fruits and vegetables. And in-season produce is much cheaper (and much healthier) than out-of-season produce. I plan my weekly menus based on which fresh fruits and veggies I know I’ll be able to find at the grocery store.

Meal Planning 101: by Royal Daughter Designs

3. Plan meals that use similar ingredients. Since it’s just the two of us I often have left overs, and let me tell you, I am not a leftover eater. But I also don’t throw out food, so I plan menus that call for like ingredients. For example, if I plan on spaghetti early in the week, I’ll plan homemade pizza later that week. That allows me to use up the ingredients without having leftovers.

4. Try something new. I’m not a very good pinterest-er, but I do utilize the site for saving new recipes that I know I’ll want to make. Trying new recipes not only adds diversity to the menu, but it keeps things from getting too boring in the kitchen. I also have several cookbooks that I flip through every week looking for a new recipe. I generally select recipes that call for ingredients that I keep on hand, I really don’t want to buy a random ingredient that will go bad before I use it again.

5. Have a few go-to meals. I’ll be honest. Sometimes I don’t stick to the menu plan. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for whatever is on the menu. Other times I’m just too tired, or I don’t have enough time, to spend in the kitchen creating a scrumptious dinner. I have a handful of meals that are super easy and for which I know I’ll always have the ingredients. Tacos, lentil soup, and open-faced veggie sandwiches are a few of my go-to meals when I’m lacking inspiration. And when all else fails, chips & guac is always an option. Can I get an amen?

Meal Planning 101: by Royal Daughter Designs

I don’t know about you, but one of my least favorite chores is doing the dishes. Today I’m giving away one of my original prints that I created as a not-so-subtle hint for my husband:


And since you can’t all be a winner, here’s a little something to help jump start your meal planning adventure, inspired by Danielle!

downloadable printable available here. enjoy!

Happy meal planning, and good luck! Thanks Danielle for sharing your blog with me today!

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  1. says

    When my boyfriend and I finally move into our own place and don’t have his chefly-mum cooking for us, I will definitely be meal planning to sort our life out, not eat so much junk and save money :)

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